Walter Hanes Lancaster, Jr.

Recent Address: 112 Barberry Road, Unit H-31, Johnson City, TN 37604-3883
E-mail Address:
Family Info: Parents: Walter and Evelyn; Wife: Barbara; Children: Susan, Polly, Ellyn, Mary
Hometown: Johnson City, TN
Date Entered Service: February 18, 1943
Service Number: 13120365
Bomb Group: 462nd
Squadron: 768th
Location of Unit: Walker AAF, Victoria, KS 10/28/43
Missions Flown: 35
Hump Missions: 21
Targets: Bangkok, Rangoon, Singapore, Anshan, Mukden, Palembang, O Shima, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe, Kure, Okayama (Formosa), Yokohama, Osaka, Amagasaki, Omuta, Takamatsu, Chiba, Sendai, Namazu, Fukui, Okayama (Japan)
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Soldiers Medal, Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 5 Bronze Stars, Presidential Unit Citation with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Service Schools: Armament School Mar-Jun 1943; Central Fire Control Jun-Oct 1943
MOS: Armament Sspecialist, Central Fire Control Specialist and Gunner
Rank Upon Discharge: Technical Sergeant
Crew Type: Flight crew
Airplane Serial No.& Name: 42-63393 Rush Order, 42-6346 Man-O-War, 42-63457 Old Acquaintance, 42-63480 Dream Girl
Where You a POW?:
POW Location:
Where You a Interned?:
Internment Location:
Date Transferred from the 58th: July 30, 1945
Date Discharged: October 12, 1945
Post WWII Service:
Post WWII Civilian Occupation(s): Sales staff of WJHL Radio, Johnson City, TN from 10/13/45 to 1/6/46. Returned to Washington & Lee University under the GI Bill to complete my interrupted education when I enlisted. Earned BS degree in June, 1948, returning to Radio Station WJHL in Johnson City. In 1949 became Sales Manager. In 1949 put WJHL-FM on the air and became General Manager of WJHL, Inc. in 1953. Became President & CEO and put WJHL-TV on the air. Sold the corporation in 1964, but remained as Executive Vice President and General Manager until retirement in 1989.
Thoughts About the 58th:
Being a part of the initial development of the B-29 certainly made an impression on my young mind and future. The initial use of a new plane, the B-29, was for the CBI and at this stage, all the crew members were specialists in their positions with the thought of being able to maintain the aircraft. As it turned out, there were only a few B-29s on the four Kansas fields when the ground crews left for India by ship in February 1944, leaving only the air crews to maintain the planes in April for the flights to the CBI. In India, the air crews had to teach the ground crews what they had learned about the engines from the overseas flights. During the time in the CBI, the enlisted men worked daily on the planes both learning and teaching in addition to flying missions. It was through this process that modifications were made at the assembly plants for the newer model B-29s coming off the line. In the CBI, due to mechanical failure and weather conditions, many planes were lost during the first 6 months. Field conditions were bad in India due to dust during the dry season and rain during that part of the year.
In China, the rock runway was rough on tires and weather was usually uncertain. Delay for needed parts was constant. Moving the entire 58th Wing to Tinian overnight was a masterful undertaking. The ground crews had again left by ship from India on February 14, 1945, and the air crews had to handle all functions in maintaining the planes, plus all preparations for missions: engine repairs, bomb loading, ammunition loading, etc. Only after the transfer to Tinian did the air crews turn the aircraft maintenance over to the ground crews and concentrated on their flying of missions. Further, as specialists, the crew members learned to respect the work of each man on the crew and close friendships developed that remain until this point in time. We all shared the same elations of a job well done, plus we shared the sorrow of the loss of good friends and of missed opportunities of doing our job due to mechanical failures.
The experiences I encountered at such a young age will never be duplicated by me, but those experiences set me on a course for the rest of my life.
Mr. Lancaster passed away January 27, 2014 and is buried at Monte Vista Memorial Park, Johnson City, TN.

58th Bomb Wing Veterans Index
© New England Air Museum 2016-2019
36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT, 06096